Greetings my fellow metal heads! March Is Metal Month! Why metal only gets one stinking month and a few god awful sampler CDs with bands that are so far from what metal really is is beyond me. Fear not folks. I’m here to save you from all that which sucks. If you are a die hard metal head, you are probably already listening to the obvious “must haves” like Dio, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and, well, you get the picture. If you’re not listening to any or all of these, stop reading this and go do so before continuing.

With the obvious greats already listed, I offer you up 5 metal albums that you absolutely must be listening to. Some are new to game but bring a lot of power and excitement to the game. Some have been around a while but may still be a new name to you. Trust me, these are all bands that will completely melt your face and complete any holes you may have in your collection.

Holy Grail – Crisis In Utopia
Fresh new blood from Pasadena, California, Holy Grail made a huge noise in the metal world with their debut album “Crisis In Utopia.” Holy Grail is a guitar fan’s delight as they shred and melt faces on songs like “My Last Attack”, “Immortal Man” and “Fight To Kill”. Holy Grail’s lead vocalist James Paul Luna has a voice that would make Rob Halford proud (or jealous). These guys are preserving the vibe and the sound of classic New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands with a twist all their own.

3 Inches of Blood – Here Awaits Thy Doom
Canada’s preservers of metal, 3 Inches of Blood are the vikings of metal. Songs like “Silent Killer”, “Call of the Hammer” and “Battles and Brotherhood” are battle cries to a new generation of metal fans to join them in the conquering all that sucks. 3iOB unleashes twin guitar attacks that will melt your face and singer Cam Pipes delivering vocals that are very reminiscent of early King Diamond/Merciful Fate. They have managed to take classic metal and fuse it with a modern sound that is easy accepted by both classic metal diehards and fans of the “new metal” sound.

White Wizzard – Over The Top
California’s White Wizzard channeled their inner Iron Maiden to put out a juggernaut of an album with “Over The Top.” Instead of creating their own hodgepodge of metal like Holy Grail and 3 Inches of Blood, White Wizzard is not shy about wearing their Iron Maiden influence on their sleeve. Songs like “Over The Top” “40 Deuces” and “Iron Goddess of Vengeance” not only showcase the tight musicianship of White Wizzard but vocalist Wyatt “Screamin’ Demon” Anderson shines and shows just how much of a force he is to be reckoned with.

Axel Rudi Pell – The Crest
Most metal fans have no idea who Axel Rudi Pell is and honestly, they should. Axel first arrived on the scene in 1984 as a founding member of legendary metal gods Steeler and has had an impressive solo career spanning 14 albums over 22 years. “The Crest” is a powerful testament that classic sounding heavy metal is far from dead and is chock full of melodic guitar riffs and soaring metal vocals courtesy of former Hardline singer Johnny Gioelli. One listen to tracks like “Too Late”, “Dark Waves Of The Sea” and “Devil Zone” will make you realize that you’ve really been missing out.

Riotgod – Riotgod
New Jersey is probably the last place you would think about when thinking of great heavy metal but Riotgod has proven to be just that. ¾ of the band comprises Monster Magnet but when not being Monster Magnet, add the face melting vocals of a guy named Sunshine and you get stoner metal that is a sonic face melting experience. Tracks like “Light of The Sun”, “Drone Station” and “Crusader” creates a sonic listening experience that will sweep you away and take you on journey through the cosmos unlike any other. This album is not one to listen to but one to experience.

My name’s Don and I love heavy metal music. I’m really psyched to be part of the Backstage Beat family. I’m not one of these metal guys that believes that everything heavy is good. I don’t like my metal played by guys that look like they work at Hot Topic and I don’t like metal sung by guys that sound like they’re eating cookies into a microphone. I love melodic, guitar driven metal. I love the classics like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest while loving new bands with an old spirit like 3 Inches of Blood and Holy Grail. I also write my own metal blog The Great Southern Brainfart so if you ever care to stop by and don’t be a stranger.